Archive for October, 2009

Any Team Can Have a Bad Century

October 1, 2009

It’s official – the Chicago Cubs will not win the World Series this year. This isn’t really big news, as they’ve been not winning the World Series for 101 years in a row, an unmatched record of futility. The last time they were champions, Theodore Roosevelt was President and the big hit songs were Shine on Harvest Moon and All She Gets From the Iceman is Ice (really). It’s not easy to be that bad for that long, but the Cubs have pulled it off.

Despite (or perhaps because of?) this long victory famine, the Cubs have a fan base as large and loyal as any in the game, and such a group has to include at least one great songwriter. The Cubs’ own songwriter was the late, great Steve Goodman, who died of leukemia in 1984 at the absurdly young age of 36. Steve’s best-known song is City of New Orleans (Arlo Guthrie’s version is the definitive one) but A Dying Cubs’ Fan Last Request just might outlast it. Steve’s illness had very little effect on his sense of humor (he nicknamed himself “Cool Hand Leuk”) and Last Request manages to be very funny and very sad at the same time.

Steve died over 25 years ago, but, unfortunately for those Cub fans who have survived him, Last Request remains as timely now as it was then.  He never (for obvious reasons) sang it inside Wrigley Field, but here he gets pretty close, singing on one of the Waveland Avenue rooftops across from the park. Please enjoy, and, if you’re a Cubs fan, wait till next year.